My family and I booked 2 double rooms for a short weekend stay in London for my 21st birthday. We used booking.com the week before in the hope that we would get a cheap deal. The price was pleasing when we looked on their website and saw the clean foyer, minimalist decor and pretty front steps. It looked like we had a great deal. Card details were taken incase we didn't show or we didn't cancel in time but there was no booking fee, just pay when you arrive. However as we walked down Swinton Street looking out for the same picturesque front door on the website, we were all bitterly disappointed to arrive at a cramped terrace building with an old sign against the railings.
We walked inside hesitantly, to be greeted by a sweaty, miserable looking receptionist who spoke little English. Whilst my dad and boyfriend attempted to pay, my mum and I stood in the foyer which was NOTHING like the picture on the website. It was drab and the leather sofas were worn out and old. It was only the fact that one of the cards was declined that prompted my dad to ask if we could see our rooms first. The receptionist was quite happy for us to all go upstairs with our luggage and see our rooms whilst he waited in his little window.
We all crammed in the old fashioned smelly lift up to the second floor. As the doors clattered open again, we stepped out onto a narrow corridor with uneven floor and looked for our rooms. My parents went into theirs first and immediately commented on the smell. Our room was just as bad. The bathroom was crammed in behind the room door so at first I wasn't even sure we had an en suite. There were no tea and coffee making facilities in my room and I didn't notice a tv either. The beds were well made and the sheets looked clean but the smell and cleanliness of the room itself, was enough to make us all feel grubby and eager to get out. Again, the rooms could not be more opposite than what the website showed!
We decided almost immediately to leave but spent an extra 5/10 minutes looking frantically on our phones for nearby hotels that had vacancies. When we arrived back at the receptionists window my dad explained that the rooms were not what was advertised on the website and we were not happy to pay £89 for each of them. The receptionist then rudely replied 'and it took you 20 minutes to decide that?' then questioned if we had touched anything in the rooms which I was very quick to reply NO WAY. When we booked, we were told that if we didn't show up, or if we didn't cancel then we would still be charged. As we left we were not told that we would still be charged and assumed we wouldn't be, as we showed up and then left because we were unhappy with the rooms.
HOWEVER, the following day my boyfriend received an email from booking.com saying that because we were a 'no show' we would be required to pay the full amount still. It looks so far as if booking.com will take no responsibility for the problems.
Overall my advice would be not to book a hotel on booking.com and don't always take the cheap option thinking its a good deal. Its cheap for a reason!!
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- Also Known As:
- Swinton Hotel London, England